Sheffield will miss out on the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ if the city’s new high-speed railway station is based at Meadowhall, council bosses have warned.
The authority wants to see the planned HS2 station based at the former Victoria station in the city centre rather than the Government’s preferred alternative near the shopping centre, which would be £1bn cheaper to create.
It comes after a recent report by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee said choosing Meadowhall for Sheffield’s station would make HS2 ‘less likely to bring economic benefit’ to the city.
Simon Green, Sheffield City Council’s executive director for place, called on local businesses to back the Victoria station option before a final decision is made by the Government.
Mr Green said: “Once again, we are presented with an independent report that endorses the significantly greater economic impact a city centre station could generate over an out-of-town parkway option.
“There is now a solid body of authoritative evidence behind the case for a city centre station.
“This reinforces Sheffield’s role within a ‘Northern economic powerhouse’ and the Transport for the North strategy showing the importance of city centre to city centre connectivity.
“Victoria is the option that generates more jobs and investment. The Government has not yet decided on the final location. We urge the business community to make their voices heard on this issue before it is too late.
“HS2 is an opportunity of a lifetime for Sheffield, but we must see the HS2 station in Sheffield City Region located where it will generate the biggest return on that investment and that is clearly the city centre.”
Despite the report, HS2 project boss Sir David Higgins has said building the station in the city centre would cost ‘at least’ an extra £1bn and added Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster councils ‘passionately want’ the Meadowhall option.
Sir David said the city centre option would also add seven minutes to journey times, meaning there would have to be a ‘really compelling reason’ to base the station there.
Details of the precise costs of both station sites have not been revealed.
It is intended that Sheffield will be part of the second phase of HS2, with the new station operational from the early 2030s.